The leaders of five regional political parties governing the peripheral regions of Ethiopia signed a deal to join the new Ethiopian Prosperity Party (EPP).
EPP is formed by three of the four member parties of the ruling coalition. The leaders have signed the deal on Sunday in the presence of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who is the leader of the recently united ruling coalition – Ethiopian People Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) after rebranding itself as Ethiopian Prosperity Party (EPP).
Truth and knowledge will be the characteristics of the new Prosperity party, according to Prime Minister Abiy who inked the deal representing Oromo Democratic Party. “Prosperity party is a strong and reliable bridge bonded in love to transform Ethiopia based on truth and knowledge,” Prime Minister Abiy said.
The five regional parties that joined the new party (EPP) have been ruling the Somali, Afar, Gambella, Benishangul Gumz and Harari region of Ethiopia. Before joining EPP, in the past few days the congresses of the parties that have been ruling the five peripheral regions have voted in support of joining the new national party.
The parties ruling these peripheral regions used to be considered as, partners of EPRDF, which has been governing Ethiopia for the two decades plus. The three members of the ruling coalition, which have voted last week to join EPP, are Oromo Democratic Party, Amhara Democratic Party and Southern party.
Meanwhile one of the four members of the ruling coalition, the Tigray Peoples Liberation Front (TPLF) has refused to join EPP claiming that it needs more time to consult with the people of Tigray.
As their names indicate the Amhara, Oromo and Tigray parties were organized on ethnic based, while the Southern region’s party comprises 56 ethnic groups including the Sidama, which became new region of Ethiopia after recent referendum.
What to expect in May 2020 Election?
Following the merger, some of the leaders of TPLF, which claims to represent between 5 to 6 million total population in Tigray Region of Ethiopia, have been indicating their plan to form a new coalition that sustains the revolutionary democracy program abandoned by EEP.
As the country approaches it may 2020 general election, some analysts are suggesting that the TPLF, whose role has now diminished in the federal government and limited to Tigray region, might form alliance with ethnic extremist political parties.
But many doubt the coming-back of TPLF to federal power in Ethiopia by securing more votes than the new alliance of the ruling coalition – EPP or the new coalition of the opposition- Ezema.
But it has now clear that the main players in the upcoming election will be the three alliances – EEP, Ezema and the expected TPLF-led alliance.
If Ethiopia holds fair and credible peacefully on schedule, EZema, the opposition alliance which has also been spreading its presence in different parts of the country over the past months, is also expected to secure more votes.
Meanwhile many agree that the incumbent, which re-branded itself as EPP involving five more regions is likely to secure majority vote in the upcoming election.
But the BIGGEST question many Ethiopians are now asking is, will the different ethnic extremists and those who lost their federal power unexpectedly and have been engaged in fueling deadly ethnic and religious clashes over the past months, let the government conduct the upcoming election peacefully and ready to accept the result?